Cleaning the seabed: Divers halt the carnage of 'ghost' nets

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Cleaning the seabed: Divers halt the carnage of 'ghost' nets
In this Sunday, May 20, 2018, photo a group of divers recover an abandoned fishing net from the sea near Poros island, Greece. Lost, abandoned and discarded fishing nets, known as ghost nets, kill millions of marine creatures and can continue fishing for centuries until they disintegrate, creating micro plastics that end up in the food chain and on our plates. (AP Photo/Elena Becatoros)

POROS, Greece (AP) — In their former lives, the ghosts in the ocean were nets and other fishing gear essential to the livelihoods of millions around the world. But once lost, abandoned or discarded into the sea, they continue doing what they were designed to do: catch fish.

Mostly made of strong plastic, this lost gear known as “ghost nets” doesn’t easily decompose. The trapped fish quickly become bait, attracting larger predators, who become entangled themselves.

An estimated 10 percent of all marine litter in the world’s oceans and seas is made up of lost or abandoned fishing gear, according to a 2009 report.

A group of volunteer divers plunged recently into the depths off the coast of the Greek island of Poros in the Saronic Gulf to recover some of these ghost nets.